VIU Campus

Statement on the murder of a Muslim family in Ontario

When I learned the news that a Muslim family in London, Ontario, had been intentionally targeted and attacked because of their faith, I was horrified and deeply saddened. It is unfathomable to think that two parents, a grandparent and a 15-year old girl are dead, and a 9-year-old boy was injured and left to survive his family, because a fellow Canadian chose to commit an act of terrorist violence and Islamophobic hate. I want to express to the Muslim community at VIU my deep sadness, and that we stand with you, value you, and denounce Islamophobia in all its forms.

When six worshippers were killed and five seriously injured by a shooting in a mosque in Quebec City in early 2017, many in the VIU community attended an anti-Islamophobia vigil at Diana Krall Plaza in downtown Nanaimo. We must remind ourselves now of what was said then by Muslim residents of Nanaimo: Islam is a practice of peace; the Muslim community is diverse and its members are long-standing contributors to the mid-Island. Yet many in the Nanaimo Muslim community have been made to feel as though they are new to a place they have called home their whole lives, or made to feel suspect or unsafe in a town where so many take their safety and acceptance for granted.

As a place of education, VIU has a commitment to fostering understanding, social awareness and engagement in civic life. It is our collective responsibility to become curious about each other. It is our collective responsibility to understand the horrific Islamophobic events in London are not random. We are each of us called to think about how we contribute to an environment that supports every person’s right to live freely, safely and without hatred.


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